OLEK was in New Delhi last month working on a massive project for the ongoing St+art Delhi Street Art Festival. OLEK uses the technique of crocheting to give expression to everyday occurrences and inspirations; her artwork often examines sexuality, feminist ideas and the evolution of communication.
OLEK crocheted thousands of meters of yarn and fabric with the help of a large group of volunteers at a workshop in South Extension, which has been exclusively put together for this massive project.
Within the first few days of her arrival in India, OLEK held a workshop on crochet techniques with volunteers and women from several different organisations. The women were given several meters of fabric, which they took back home with them and crocheted into hearts and butterflies and other forms, which were all used to make a larger artwork for the project. OLEK got everyone involved with producing this large crochet installation.
This project aims to bring attention to the temporary night shelters for the homeless, “Raine Basera”, which have been setup throughout the city; it also explores the issues of women empowerment. A majority of the volunteers and workers involved in the project are women who come from diverse socio-economic background such as housewives, working professionals and students.
“The government has taken a great initiative by setting up homeless shelters all across the city, but a majority of people are unaware of their existence. OLEK is an iconic name in the global street art community and her projects are always vibrant and work around empowering women. Through this project we aim to draw the attention of the whole city towards this positive initiative, while working with women from different walks of life to bring this project to life,” Akshat Nauriyal, Content Director, St+art Delhi.
Several kilometers of fabric were used for developing this project.
The night shelter is located in Sarai Kale Khan area of New Delhi and is about 40 ft long and 8 foot high – required an enormous 90 km of fabric to cover it. Through her project, OLEK is trying to touch the lives of homeless people living in New Delhi and draw the attention of the city to them.
“Crochet is a very intricate and difficult style of work, which has been raised to an Artform by OLEK. It will bring the desired attention to a thoroughly neglected area of the night shelters in New Delhi. Highlighting the suffering of the homeless people. It is a positive initiative and will explore the issues being faced by the homeless and also promote a very important cause of women empowerment. This project will go a long way in making lives of these people more visible, vibrant, energetic and lively.” Kamal Malhotra, Director Night Shelters, DUSIB.
While extremely enthusiastic about creating something in India, OLEK understands how exhausting it can be to work on a project of this scale.
“I know it will be one of those journeys which I’ll be exhausted while creating, even nearing the edge of quitting and running away. However, once completed, I will be able to spread my wings and with the new energy I will fly away to my new destination to bring colours and light to those who need it.” OLEK
The next stop for the artist is the Brooklyn Museum, where once again she will be creating a large-scale table installation for the Artist Ball on April 15th. Read more about this colourful street art festival in Delhi here.
St+art Delhi is proudly supported by Asian Paints, Adidas Originals Government partners New Delhi Government, PWD, NDMC, CPWD, DTC, DUSIB. Institutional partners Goethe Institute, Polish Institute, New Delhi Japan Foundation, Camoes Instituto Da Cooperacao E Da Lingua Portugal, EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture), Google Cultural Institute Project Partners AllKraftz, Usha Sewing Machines.